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Default Fable 3 - Episodic Option

July 2nd, 2010, 04:31
According to Peter Molyneux, Fable III will be available in episodic form with the first part free "soon after the retail launch". From Edge:
"Soon after the retail launch we're doing episodic. We break it down in chapters. We give away the first chapter entirely free, the first hour. When you reach a certain point in the game it says 'thank you for playing the pilot of Fable III, do you want to spend an extra 2-5 or whatever dollars to buy the next episode, or buy the whole lot?' Press 'yes' and you will immediately continue playing," he said at the GameHorizon Conference, according to Gamesindustry.biz.
"It supports this freemium idea,” Molyneux added. “It gets around this horrible concept of demos. Anyone out there who thinks a demo is a good idea is crazy. It's never a good idea, because demos are usually done at the end of a game and they require an enormous amount of design talent to make a demo. The other thing is you're more likely to satisfy the curiosity of a user rather than entice them to play more."
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July 2nd, 2010, 04:32
He already announced awhile ago that they were doing it in episodic form.

Also he doesn't even know what a demo is.
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July 2nd, 2010, 04:41
Wow. That sounds horrible.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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July 2nd, 2010, 05:31
I completely agree with him on demo's bit and I can see how releasing first few hours of game as "chapter" (shareware?) is a better idea to see whether you feel like continuing the experience further or not.

Hmm, actually it's pretty much Shareware..


"Also he doesn't even know what a demo is."

I am pretty sure he knows more than a random commentator on a forum what a demo is. Most demos are a pain in the ass for developers to create. Demos not only need to be perfect but also need to avoid spoiling most of the game and show the "action" bits more often.

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July 2nd, 2010, 06:39
"The other thing is you're more likely to satisfy the curiosity of a user rather than entice them to play more."

Wow…

Did this guy ever care about anything besides money?
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July 2nd, 2010, 10:07
This guy annoys me on too many levels to go into right now, but in this instance I generally agree with his observation. The one possibly problem I can see with this approach is the need for cliffhangers: instead of building suspense continuously, game developers will probably adopt a jigsaw pattern of suspense matching the episode intervals, as a consequence introduce more 'dei ex machinis' and make a little less sense story-wise. On the other hand, this might well adapt to the quest structure of RPGs.

And at least he is honest when he shows off his greed: Molyneux has already set a five million unit sales target for Fable III, which would drive profit “in excess of $150 million”. But why should he not? He is a business executive, needs to secure funds for his company, and as someone who generally likes the social market economy I cannot blame him for that.
Last edited by coyote; July 2nd, 2010 at 13:16.
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July 2nd, 2010, 11:05
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Wow…

Did this guy ever care about anything besides money?
His livelihood depends on selling games. Demos are a piece of marketing, designed to sell games. A demo that satisfies, rather than whets, the appetite is a failed piece of marketing. How do you get 'doesn't care about anything but money' from that?
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July 2nd, 2010, 11:08
I don't believe demos should be too long. Because in my opinion a whole chapter of a game for free takes away from the overall game enjoyment.

I think that a demo should not be a whole chapter of any story, but is shouldn't be too short either.

The problem is the balance, imho.

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July 2nd, 2010, 11:40
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Wow…

Did this guy ever care about anything besides money?
What other purpose does a demo have than to entice the player to play more? Why is this suddenly about greed?! Of course it's about money! Duh!!

This sounds like an excellent idea. I liked it with Fable II, as well. Many times I don't even complete a game, so it will be cheaper for me. I also don't feel like I'm wasting my time with a demo, having to play parts again in the real game. That's why demos don't really appeal to me. A free first chapter? I will instantly download that. My time will be well-spend.

I don't understand why people throw a hissy fit when this guy opens his mouth. Sometimes good things come out of it.

Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
I don't believe demos should be too long. Because in my opinion a whole chapter of a game for free takes away from the overall game enjoyment.

I think that a demo should not be a whole chapter of any story, but is shouldn't be too short either.
The idea is that you start playing the game, for free, at the beginning. If you like it and wish to continue it, you buy the next part. So there's no problem. You're playing the real game, not just a crippled area of it. I like it.
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July 2nd, 2010, 12:02
Originally Posted by Badesumofu View Post
His livelihood depends on selling games. Demos are a piece of marketing, designed to sell games. A demo that satisfies, rather than whets, the appetite is a failed piece of marketing. How do you get 'doesn't care about anything but money' from that?

I wasn't referring to demos, I'm talking about "episodic content", which is what I thought he meant with that statement.


Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
What other purpose does a demo have than to entice the player to play more? Why is this suddenly about greed?! Of course it's about money! Duh!!.
You missed the point, which is that some devs actually make games because they love doing it, and because they genuinely want to make a great game, not just something that appeals to as many people as possible.
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July 2nd, 2010, 12:04
With the inclusion of 'Kinect' support, Molyneux would be on track to make some rich pickings……….irrespective of 'gameplay'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinect
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July 2nd, 2010, 14:15
So his "pilot" is the same as any shareware game demo (like Spiderwebs) only shorter. But he hates Demos. He is truly the master of innovashiun….
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July 2nd, 2010, 16:33
It actually makes a lot of sense. Typically a demo throws you straight into the action and lets you sample what the game is like. The build up to the point when the demo starts is missing (except when the demo is actually the game's tutorial which is quite often the case) and so you have nothing invested in what you're playing and when it is over that is that.

The demo for Dawn of War 2 let you play the first 2-3 hours of the full game (not just a tutorial but 4-5 missions following the tutorial) and by the time the demo ended and there was a link to buy the full game (which was conveniently on sale that weekend) I immediately purchased the full game so I could continue playing (which I actually couldn't as it turned but that's besides the point).

Would I prefer a game in episodes instead of the full thing? No. I have my own tempo when playing games and I don't like being forced to wait for the next episode to arrive so if a game is episodic I usually wait until all the episodes are available, but that is not what he is talking about here. He is saying that you can EITHER buy the full game OR go the way of episodic distribution.

Like Badesumofu and Thaurin I'm puzzled why this is being met with such harshness here at the Watch. I thought we were supposed to be more mature than that … *sigh*

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July 3rd, 2010, 05:39
ortucis: I said that because he said that what he was doing with the first episode being free is not a demo when it is exactly the opposite (in most cases) and that is exactly what most demos are. It is not as common to find demos that are original content and not just the first hour or so of the game or similar. I have played many demos over the decades I have been playing games and what Peter Molyneux is putting out as being "not a demo" is identical to what most of the demos I have played are.

PS. Most developers that complain are trying to make atypical demos with original content. Most demos are just the engine with the first hours of content with a message saying it is over at the end while asking you to buy the game. (or giving you a link to where you can buy the game)
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July 3rd, 2010, 10:17
Taking advantage of human psychology to maximise profit, is a smart business tactic.

Making players decide when they're actually playing the game, and likely wanting more - could be a smart choice, except if they're sick of the game by then

Molyneux is a talentless hack with interesting ideas, and he's ALL about the money and the kick of attention.

By all means support him, he'll be pleased

His statement about demos is an exaggeration. Sure, if you're not prepared for a demo, and you want it to be unique - it's a huge effort. However, if you do what most of them do, you simply take a portion of ready-made content - and make some adjustments so it can work in an isolated state, and won't take up too much space. It takes some effort, but he's blowing it way out of proportion. But at least he's honest about his fear that people get what they want from a demo, so they don't have to buy the game to actually "check it out."

I'm not surprised that the supreme greed of developers today, is going to move away from demos - because it IS an expense afterall.
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July 3rd, 2010, 18:45
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
So his "pilot" is the same as any shareware game demo (like Spiderwebs) only shorter. But he hates Demos. He is truly the master of innovashiun….
Look at the Tales Of Monkey Island or at the newer Sam & Max games … Or Wallace & Gromit Adventures … similar marketing approach …

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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July 4th, 2010, 06:16
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It takes some effort, but he's blowing it way out of proportion. But at least he's honest about his fear that people get what they want from a demo, so they don't have to buy the game to actually "check it out."

I'm not surprised that the supreme greed of developers today, is going to move away from demos - because it IS an expense afterall.
Right. It is an expense and - if the demo isn't very well designed - might satisfy or even turn players off. That makes them greedy? Give me a break.

And the context is Molyneux (who I couldn't care less about) but he is offering the first chapter for free. Isn't that a demo? So maybe Molyneux isn't greedy? I'm confused.

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July 4th, 2010, 10:35
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Right. It is an expense and - if the demo isn't very well designed - might satisfy or even turn players off. That makes them greedy? Give me a break.

And the context is Molyneux (who I couldn't care less about) but he is offering the first chapter for free. Isn't that a demo? So maybe Molyneux isn't greedy? I'm confused.
No, that alone doesn't make them greedy. Not that you'd ever accept my definition of greed, and I think we've established that you and I will never see eye to eye.

If you think "giving away" that chapter for free is because of generousity, and not part of enticing players - be my guest.

You see, I think the extra chapter is part of the normal development cycle, and they're simply removing it and then "offering it up for free" - so they don't need to make an effort to produce a demo that might reveal what kind of game they're really making. People who've already bought it, won't mind spending petty cash when they're that far into the game and invested in the experience - and so they're simply experimenting with ways to maximise profit.

Oh, and it's definitely NOT a demo for the game, because a demo is not extra content and it's available to everyone - not just people who already bought the game. Though certain parties are taking strides to make demos cost money, which I'm sure will be embraced by people with your mindset.

The original Project Ego was supposed to be a revolution, wasn't it - and look what the franchise has become.

They're maximising profit more or less by marketing and bullshit speeches alone, and this episodic thing is simply their vision of how to get the most from the least effort.

It's a joke, really - but it's working, since both Fables were pretty successful. Not that they're bad games, they're not, but they're nothing compared to the promises made, and they're especially pathetic compared to the original vision.

Molyneux is spinning his crap and people are swallowing it up still. But, I think he's relatively frank about beeing greedy - and if he was really brave, he'd be frank about being a hack. I doubt people would stop supporting the game for that reason.

Greed is legitimate to many people, afterall.
Last edited by DArtagnan; July 4th, 2010 at 10:56.
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July 4th, 2010, 11:59
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
No, that alone doesn't make them greedy. Not that you'd ever accept my definition of greed, and I think we've established that you and I will never see eye to eye.

If you think "giving away" that chapter for free is because of generousity, and not part of enticing players - be my guest.
My comments aren't Molyneux specific - I have no interest in him or buying his products.

Isn't every demo about enticing players (whether they are successful or not)? Do you honestly think any demo is ever about generosity?

The answer is obviously "yes", and "no", so I don't get your point.

You see, I think the extra chapter is part of the normal development cycle, and they're simply removing it and then "offering it up for free" - so they don't need to make an effort to produce a demo that might reveal what kind of game they're really making.
It's the first chapter. Of course it's part of the normal development cycle. So…? Aren't most demos?

People who've already bought it, won't mind spending petty cash when they're that far into the game and invested in the experience - and so they're simply experimenting with ways to maximise profit.
This I don't get. Who are the people who already bought it that would waste their time downloading the first chapter they already played? The point is obviously to act as a demo for those who haven't bought it, in which case I have no idea what you are saying.

Do you think you need to buy the game first? I don't see where it says that.

Oh, and it's definitely NOT a demo for the game, because a demo is not extra content and it's available to everyone - not just people who already bought the game.
Again…what? Where does it say I have to buy the game?

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July 4th, 2010, 12:01
All game demo's are some kind of expense to the game costs and normally 'allowed for' as a potential sales inducement - a kind of returns investment - Molyneux however, is trying to cut this demo cost by finding a ways of making the gamer pay for it up front - a crafty stealth move indeed. He doesn't hate demo's - he loves em' when used as a potential gain tool.
Greed is hard to quantify because it is a normallity in industry to invest to yield future gain - eg: 'growth within a company' - yet greed can be an individual's motivation within a company, private or corporate.
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